New York Jazz Academy is the fastest-growing music school in New York City. NYJA began in Manhattan with a simple and determined mission of providing ensemble performance and rehearsal opportunities to talented young musicians. Over the years, the school has seen unprecedented growth while developing into a new and successful model of jazz education and professional development for musicians of all ages and levels. Now NYJA helps train and develop a student body of all ages and levels, including seasoned performing artists using NYJA programs as a form of professional development, adult hobbyists of varied ability, supremely talented teens, and beginners of all ages. With locations thriving in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, New York Jazz Academy has become a beacon of inspiration and insight for musicians ready to take their jazz playing to the next level.
NYJA offers jazz band rehearsals, jam sessions, improv workshops, individualized lessons, and much more. Boasting a faculty roster of many of the finest musicians and educators in NYC, NYJA gives students a chance to learn all styles of jazz on virtually any instrument, including piano, guitar, drums, voice, saxophone, trumpet, and more. An active contributor to the cultural vitality of the city, NYJA also offers school outreach programs and assemblies, special performances, partnerships with major jazz clubs, custom workshops for out-of-town students, online classes, and educational consulting and publishing.
Too many musicians in New York City are given no chance to interact with like-minded peers and rehearse quality music. For many, the general routine includes a weekly lesson with a private teacher and isolated practice sessions throughout the week. Individual practice sessions can be hit-and-miss, and only those who are deeply internally motivated tend to fall into a productive daily practice routine. Without external motivators like rehearsals and jam sessions, musicians can become easily disenchanted with music study. This scenario devolves into a sad cycle involving increasingly frustrated students and disappointed teachers.
With an emphasis placed on performing, rehearsing, and jamming with other musicians, weekly sessions include small classes with professional jazz instructors and rehearsals and jam sessions with like-minded peers and pros. Participants enjoy the community of musicians while finding new inspiration in their instruments. With the NYJA learning model, each student stands a great chance of remaining motivated and enthusiastic about music performance and practice.
Repertoire choices and general music styles can contribute to a lack of interest or desire among musicians. If a student is playing enjoyable material, motivation can remain high. Learning jazz takes effort and work, but it sure can be fun. Jazz music is an art that explores complex harmony, melody, and rhythm while balancing printed notation with improvisation. A student who develops a strong foundation in jazz is well-equipped to play nearly every style of music in the world, including rock, pop, salsa, most classical music, new music, and other music from around the world. Jazz remains entirely relevant in today's society, and it speaks to many in a very direct and moving way. While we at NYJA firmly support classical music study, we believe that there is a wealth of opportunity for growth that stems from the study of jazz music. Classical music study will often help a student reach a level of the highest technical proficiency, and for this reason, NYJA stresses a "cross-training" curriculum in private lessons that incorporates valuable classical repertoire into each student's course of study in jazz.
Improvising empowers the musician, who through improvising becomes equal parts composer and performing artist. Developing an ability to create music in the moment helps develop technical proficiency on the instrument, deepens awareness of rhythmic structure and harmonic movement, hones critical thinking skills, and contributes to a greater understanding of music in general. Improvising can be achieved in private--either a cappella or playing along with a recording--but jamming with a group of musicians helps the musician to develop and learn by "doing." Through live jam sessions, the improviser learns how to complement and enhance an ever-changing and dynamic musical environment. NYJA jam sessions, whether in the context of a big band or small ensemble rehearsal, become an optimal training ground for real-world performance.
This question is still occasionally asked among professional jazz musicians and jazz educators. The short answer is an emphatic "Yes!". Unfortunately, many teachers do not teach jazz well, and jazz as an educational discipline is still in its infancy (The first jazz schools did not start up until the 1960s and '70s.). A common scenario involves a teacher throwing a handful of scales of chords at a student while declaring, "Just improvise a lot, listen to a ton of recordings, and eventually you'll start to hear it." This tired method of pedagogy may work for a handful of the most talented players, but even the most talented could benefit from a more insightful approach to learning jazz. The approach to jazz pedagogy at NYJA involves the most innovative and successful materials on the market, extremely well-written ensemble music commissioned for use exclusively by NYJA, and a teaching staff that includes only the most aware, creative, and encouraging instructors. Every NYJA teacher must meet four criteria: (1) world-class performing talent, (2) a dynamic gift for teaching all levels of students, (3) a keenly articulate and thoughtful intellect, and (4) a friendly and encouraging personality.
Rehearsals regularly feature guest artists and pro jazz musicians. These phenomenal players are able to share valuable insights into the music business, ensemble playing, improvising, rhythm section playing, and more.
By enrolling in NYJA, students and parents both benefit from an extremely dedicated faculty and staff that is genuinely devoted to helping students grow as musicians and good citizens. We care for our students, and we provide open lines of communication regarding progress and development, individual goals, expectations, practice help, and more. Unlike many music schools, NYJA offers extremely generous compensation to our teachers, who are valued and treated with the utmost respect. If you are a jazz teacher, and you are interested in teaching for NYJA, please visit our employment page.
If you are interested in signing up for a course of study, or if you have any questions, please contact us. Feel free to browse our website for more information on our programs, including curriculum, rates, locations, instructors, and more.